Despite a two-goal performance from Corey Tropp and their second game-tying goal with less than six minutes remaining in as many games, the Rochester Americans saw their three-game winning streak snapped by the Hamilton Bulldogs in a 3-2 shootout loss on Friday night. Despite the loss, however, the Amerks still managed to secure a point for a fourth straight outing.
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After seeing just one goal scored over the first 40 minutes of play, the two teams combined to score three times in the final period before the Bulldogs came out on top in the shootout.
“We obviously are disappointed we didn’t get that point, but the other night (a 3-2 shootout win vs. Syracuse) it bounced our way,” Amerks Head Coach Ron Rolston said following the game. “With our hockey team and the way we battle back and compete in games, we’re probably going to be in a lot of those in this league. There’s a lot of tight hockey games and every night is another battle.”
The Amerks rallied from a pair of one-goal deficits to earn the point as Tropp scored twice in the third period. Travis Turnbull and Brayden McNabb collected the assists on the first tally while Derek Whitmore and Zack Kassian recorded the helpers on the second goal. Goaltender Drew MacIntyre turned away 20 shots between the pipes for Rochester.
“Corey is a hard-nosed hockey player, he attacks the net and he does a lot for our hockey team,” Rolston said of Tropp.
Hamilton was led offensively by a two point effort from Michael Blunden (0+2) while Zack FitzGerald and Phil DeSimone each contributed a goal apiece. Netminder Nathan Lawson stopped 29 of the 31 shots fired his way by the Amerks and Gabriel Dumont scored the shootout-winning goal in the eighth round to secure the win for the club.
After more than 25 minutes of scoreless play, the Bulldogs finally opened up the scoring at 15:32 of the middle frame when FitzGerald benefitted from a fortunate bounce for his first of the year. After a quick passing combination from Blunden in the left corner to T.J. Fast at the left point, Fast delivered a one-touch pass across the point to FitzGerald, who beat MacIntyre with a one-timer high to the glove side. The puck changed direction significantly en route to the net as it appeared to deflect off the stick of a Rochester player and caught MacIntyre by surprise.
The Amerks got on the board to tie the score at one just past the midway point of the third period thanks to a great individual effort from Tropp. Upon gaining entry into the offensive zone, Tropp drove wide down the left wall before beating a Bulldogs defenseman and cutting to the net just above the goal-line before chipping the puck over the glove-hand of Lawson.
Hamilton, however, quickly restored its lead with the man advantage less than three minutes later as DeSimone jumped on a loose puck at the right side of the net and jammed it in. The Bulldogs worked the puck around the perimeter before setting up Brian Willsie for a one-timer from the point, which was denied by MacIntyre. DeSimone, however, was there to jam the rebound just around the skate of the sprawled netminder.
Rochester responded with a power-play tally of its own just 1:39 later when Tropp cashed in his second of the evening. After Lawson denied an initial shot from the slot by Whitmore, Tropp shoveled the rebound behind the Hamilton goaltender and the puck trickled across the goal line to tie the game at two. Kassian also picked up an assist on the play, taking over the team scoring lead with six points in as many games.
The Amerks return to the ice Saturday afternoon as they travel to Toronto to take on the Marlies in the first of 10 meetings between the two North Division rivals. Puck drop in the matinee contest is slated for 3 p.m. and will be broadcast live on 107.3 FM and 1280 AM, Rochester’s Sports Talk.